Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

“You see what they are doing? They’re blaming Iowa. It’s not the fault of the Democratic Party. It’s Iowa’s fault. After the citizens of Iowa put up with all that interaction with candidates swarming the state for the past year (and more) and after they showed up for this elaborate nighttime gathering in groups in gyms and showing support with their bodies, they are blamed for the screw-up of the party!”

Iconoclastic blogger Ann Althouse, reacting to the Democratic Party’s attempts to mitigate the Iowa Caucuses debacle.

At least they aren’t blaming it all on Trump. Yet.

Ann continues..

The other blame-shifting I’m seeing is: The computers did it. There was an app and it somehow caused all the trouble. Reminiscent of Hillary’s wipe-it-with-a-cloth computer problems. I really don’t want to hear excuses that have to do with computers getting things wrong. This cannot have been a complicated app, and the backup was to use the phones, yet they want to blame the phone lines too! It’s just not credible.”

What triggered Althouse  were Washington Post  headlines telling her that
Sen. Dick Durbin said  it was time to end the Iowa caucuses and that Howard Dean said that Iowa should no longer lead the primary parade.

What I especially like about Ann is that her academic detachment allows her to focus on aspects of an issue that most analysts miss because they care about the results more than she does. This talent is annoying when it results in her going off on tangents about how a particular word is used in a quote or article–she’s been obsessed with the word “garnered” for a couple of weeks now—but this is an example of her picking up on an ethics issue that nobody else, including me, was mentioning: the avoidance of accountability.

I was shocked when I woke up this morning after sleeping in—bad night—to see that the results of the Caucus still hadn’t been announced. It’s a massive embarrassment for the party, and again—commenter Michael West disagrees with me on this, but I’ll double down now—it is bad for everyone, not just Democrats. Ann was focusing on this as well, I think.

The Iowa Caucuses have long been celebrated as old fashioned democracy in action: citizens meeting in firehouse hall and churches, debating, making their preferences known. I come from Arlington, Massachusetts, the largest municipality in the nation that still uses the town meeting system of governance. Local and regional democracy, though the Left increasingly derides it in its quest for global government, is the heart of American values. This kind of breakdown, catalyzed by inflicting technology on a system that has worked just fine without it, undermines public trust in our institutions.

That is dangerous.

Moreover, it is in everyone’s interests, in a two party system, for both parties to find the best possible candidate. This was a point I kept making in 2016. For either party’s system to blow up increases the likelihood that chaos will taint the  process, and cause unforeseen and unintended results—as it did the last time.

That said, the conservative pundits are certainly having fun. Like here. And here. And here.

In my early morning post, I pondered the likelihood that the President would unleash a mocking tweet. He did, but it was, for him, restrained:

I had forgotten about the Obamacare rollout and the breakdown of the website. The episode again highlighted Obama’s weak executive style–he should have fired many incompetents responsible, but apparently dismissed none.  The news media’s refusal to ever hold Obama appropriately accountable shielded him from the criticism he absolutely deserved, but then they have made up for it with this administration, refusing to give the President credit for good results, and routinely condemning him if they can figure out any pretense to do so.

We’ll see if the Democratic Party’s loyal allies in the media lay the blame for the Iowa farce where it belongs.


The link that will work in a Facebook post is this:

17 thoughts on “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

  1. I read an article this morning essentially blaming the reporting and I got the distinct impression that they were happy to blame Iowa for this fiasco. I also made a “cloth” joke myself about the app since the Democrats don’t seem to handle technology well.

    Nice to know Althouse and I agree.

  2. What triggered Althouse were Washington Post headlines telling her that Sen. Dick Durbin said it was time to end the Iowa caucuses and that Howard Dean said that Iowa should no longer lead the primary parade.

    See, I’m going to take the contrarian view and say this is a good thing. The Democrats have always, since my dawn of awareness, blamed others for their own incompetence. They do the same thing when it comes to their constituents — it’s always racism, or classism, or ant-feminism, capitalism or some other -ism causing the problem. Seeing them do the exact same thing here, i.e. blaming the problem on something other than Democrats — is perfectly consistent with who they are.

    I think it’s always good when people are authentic, even when they are being authentically inauthentic.

    The next thing you can expect is that the Democrats will want to change Iowa’s primary relationship because Iowans are mostly white and Midwestern, two things Democrats largely find barely tolerable in their voters. It stands athwart their identity politics plank, and is difficult to explain when queried in that context. Using the “that’s how it’s always been” justification, or as you did, the “this is what retail politics looks like” justification is the kind of argument that has been rejected on a racial and gender identity basis over and over again by Democrats, both politicians and activists.

    So I say again — Durbin and Dean are exactly in the mainstream of Democrat policy opinion, and that is totally consistent with their prior actions. I say, let them do it, because authenticity is important in politics. People knowing who you are and what you stand for, and against, is more important than historical positions in primaries.

  3. Canadian here, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

    There’s no reason for this.

    The Democrat party in particular is so divorced from the realities of modernity that it staggers imagination. Anyone who belongs to a party that uses superdelegates should think really long and hard before complaining to anyone else about voter disenfranchisement, but even worse than that is this godawful caucus practise. “It favours the excited” my ass, this is more akin to election by flash mob than it is an actual democracy. And for a party priding itself in being all scientific and modern and not stuck in the mud like those smelly Republicans, it must be particularly embarrassing to also be the party of Hillary “With a Cloth?” Clinton, Barack “” Obama, Anthony “Password” Weiner, or “We’ve got an App for that” Iowa. Zuckerberg gave an interview last year, and he talked about the difficulties of explaining problems in tech to congresspeople, because they are so out of touch with tech. As an example, less than 20% of congresspeople own a cell phone. I guess Hillary was ahead of the curve.

    But more than that, American electoral processes are a circus, and mired in the past. Canadian elections happen every four years or when a minority government is defeated, and as a matter of law take a minimum of 36 days and a maximum of 50. Leaders are chosen by the parties, two delegates from each district gather in one place and hold a convention, all at once. By contrast, we all know how long the Democrats have been campaigning, the primary will last until *June*, and the election is in October. Where Canadians have 3 years and 10 months of steady government, America has a two-year election every four years and midterms just to tide you over. This circus is so foreign to me… Does it really make sense to you?

    Even the things that seem like good ideas are done in the most archaic ways possible. As an example, I understand and even agree that the electoral college makes sense, but the reason the electoral college isn’t a direct “State gets “X” weight, state votes “Y”” Eludes me. The reason it’s set up the way it is now harkens back to the days before communication and fast travel, where it was a necessity to have people travel by carriage the length of the country to cast their electoral ballot. A winner couldn’t be announced the next day because no had the information to know with any certainty who was elected. What’s the excuse now? What’s the point of giving faithless electors a chance?

    America needs a real election overhaul, but that would require co-operation, and that ain’t happening.

    • Fewer than 20% of congress people own a cell phone. Really?

      No way, unless it’s because they get free ones as part of their employment package?

    • HT, this is a standard parliamentarian take on U.S. elections. No way the media will let elections be shortened. Next to drug ads, political ads have to be the main ad income source for media outlets. There’s no way in hell they’re going to give up that huge income stream.

  4. This has to be a joke. The New York Times is reporting the Iowa DNC made a secret contract with a company to develop a vote reporting app in 2 months. They refused to identify who made it, wouldn’t make it available for security analysts to check it for weaknesses and it didn’t work. They reported that the company that made it is named Shadow, Inc that has one owner named ACRONYM. Shadow, Inc is also providing technical assistance to the Biden and Buttigeig campaigns. This has to be a joke, like the time the FAA intern told the press the crashed plane crew was ‘Wi Tu Loo” and “Sum Ting Wong”. Next they will be saying that Shadow stands for Shut Hillary and Democrats Out (of) Washington and is owned by Donald Trump, Jr. There is no way this can be true, can it? The Democrats can’t be so corrupt that they would actually do something this transparently corrupt and thing that they can get away with it? This has to be some Bernie Bros trying to embarrass the DNC and the NYT for not giving Bernie the praise they feel he deserves.

    Or, is the world scripted by Onion writers now?

    • Fair question but the Babylon Bee, not The Onion, Michael. The Onion has gone over to the dark side of political correctness and anti-Trumpism. Just not funny anymore. Frankly, the Bee is almost better than The Onion ever was, even in its prime.

      • You are probably right, but more people are familiar with the Onion, so it probably still gets the point across better. The issue still remains, though. This can’t have happened, can it? What’s next, we will find the New Hampshire Democratic primary vote totals are processed by George Soros for The Destruction of Democracy, LLC?

        • I’m guessing it’s rank incompetence rather than malice, Michael. I just think the likelihood of jiggering the results without getting caught are so minute no one would even try it. Too many paid political consultants are employed by too many campaigns to let their jobs be ended by chicanery. Plus, guys like Tom Perez are part of the brotherhood of professional pols and consultants. They’d be run out of the club for deploying such a brazenly unfair tactic.

          • While I tend to agree with you, you’re overlooking an important factor: Dunning-Kruger. The kind of people we’re talking about think they’re the elites, the cream of the crop. They get caught all the time doing shady shit, even though the consequences might be dire, because they don’t think they’ll get caught. They, like many criminals behind bars are this very moment, think they’re a whole lot smarter than they actually are. Remember, this is a party that celebrates a dimwit like AOC as if she were Aristotle.

            I think most of this Iowa debacle is, as you say, incredible incompetence. However, the longer it drags on, the more shady it looks. Okay, the app failed. So why did the old pencil-paper-and-phone system also fail, when that has worked pretty well for a hundred years or so? And how long does it take to accumulate and add some numbers together, even if we grant that the phone system just happened to flake out at the worst possible moment? We’re at 24 hours and still don’t have all the results. I’m not sure people can be THAT incompetent and still accomplish the basic daily functions of staying alive. This is basic math. What’s taking so long?

            • They get caught all the time doing shady shit, even though the consequences might be dire,

              Actually, there are no consequences at all.

              Comey is still breathing free air. So is Hillary. I could name you dozens of ‘deep state’ swamp dwellers who break laws with impunity which would put the average serf under the jail.

              • Well, that too. Perhaps the worst part is that they have come to count on there being no personal consequences, while not caring one whit about the systemic consequences (such as the undermining of our political institutions and respect for the law) that come about from their shenanigans.

                I think this is one of the reasons the “deep state” people are so determined to get rid of Trump. They’re terrified he’ll really start kicking over rocks and expose all the *really* heinous shit they’ve been up to that we don’t even know about.

                • This is the exact truth: the rule of law no longer exists for the Swamp. It has become a bludgeon they use to keep the peons in line.

                  ‘heinous.’ Neat word. Reminds me of Bill and Ted. i will have to add that to my descriptive vocabulary.*

                  Progressives need to break the system so they can rule. They will continue with the violence, the injustice, and the hypocrisy until they find themselves subjected to consequences.

                  *I have run out of words to describe the almost 4 year running freak out on the left. ‘Heinous’ works well.

  5. “It’s a massive embarrassment for the party, and again—commenter Michael West disagrees with me on this, but I’ll double down now—it is bad for everyone, not just Democrats.”


    There are A LOT

    and I mean A LOT

    of hoisting the Democrats have to do

    And I’m not sure which one of the DOZENS of petards they need to choose.

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